Who is a Legacy? What type of students?

What does it mean if you are are legacy to a school how do you know? Does is mean your( father,mother, aunt, uncle or grandparetns went to the school?) I am not sure what would count a student as a leacy?

It usually refers to someone in the immediate family; parents or siblings who also attended.

Each individual institution establishes its own practices; there are no universal definitions. You need to investigate your target universities’policies. To illustrate:


At some schools, only undergraduate alumni can create a legacy relationship, but at others all graduates do;
At some schools, only children/stepchildren can be legacies, but at others grandchildren/step-grandchildren can, too;
At some schools, siblings creat a legacy relationship, while at other they do not;
And so forth.


Too frequently, teenagers erroneously believe that there is some sort of all-encompassing definition for many admissions-related things (this is one), however, often each institution – quite appropriately – has unique policies.

I wouldn’t worry too much about it. If the school wants to know, they will ask.

In the school section of the Common Application, they frequently ask if you have had any family attend or work at the university.

if family attended, usually parents

@currymaster420 And do they state what qualifies as “family”? As I recall it is immediate family - those who you primarily live with.

@JustOneDad It is in a drop down menu, so you can select it. To my knowledge, it really depends on the school for what the school will actually consider legacy.

I.e. for Duke they ask 3 questions.

  1. any siblings applying same year
  2. relatives ever attended duke (very vague)
  3. mother or father attended school

There were also some schools where the questions went…

  1. relatives ever attended…
  2. if yes, was the relative a parent or grandparent…
  3. if yes, give information (name, years, degree, etc.)

Like I said, they will ask. If they don’t prompt you with specifics, your safe bet is immediate family. Feel free to put down second cousin Eugene, but I don’t see how that could possibly aid your admission.